I spent the month of March, well most of it, meeting family in India. It was exciting, it was hectic, it was fun and it was entirely draining – physically and emotionally. I ate like a pig, didn’t even need an excuse to do so :). I went on crash course meeting relatives, even my jet lag went on the backburner. I went on an astonishing exploration of the new India, where everything but the basics can be had BUT with a good premium over their corresponding dollar values (I never felt poorer in my own country before !!!). I enjoyed the marginal improvement in Delhi traffic and public transportation while getting suffocated by the pollution, somethings just don’t change you know!
And I played Holi, a true Indian Holi, after 5 long years of deferred and muted celebrations in the USA. A holi douzed in the colors of an artist’s bold palette generously employed by friends, family and strangers alike. If Diwali lights up India like a a star spangled clear night sky in the desert, then Holi paints the nation in the colors of the rainbow. If Diwali is the king of dressy then Holi is the queen of kitsch. If Diwali is about planned seduction, Holi is about raw physicality. And if Diwali is about fancy new age sweets, Holi is about home made laddoos and gujias. In it’s earthiness, Holi this time simply took over the favorite festival title for me.
There were many other things going on too. The World Cup 2011 matches (more on it later on), my cousin’s engagement, tons and family and friends vying for attention, plans for shopping and partying – but nothing could beat the spirit of Holi. Like many things, absence had only made my heart grow fonder for a real Holi, played with both wet and dry colors, herbal as well as chemical colors, easy as well as tough to clean colors and with the demure as well as gay abandon styles of applying colors. For me, this trip was highlighted by Holi and will always remain a most cherished vacation due to it.